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Old February 13th, 2006, 09:29 PM   #1
wjfox
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Beautiful Victorian building to be demolished

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...037293,00.html

Magnificent Victorian hotel set to check out
By Marcus Binney, Architecture Correspondent

PLANS to demolish one of the earliest of London’s great, purpose-built hotels have come under attack. The Crown Commissioners want to replace the 1880s Hotel Metropole with a block of shops, offices and a rooftop restaurant.
The Metropole, on Northumberland Avenue, was one of London’s largest hotels when it opened, with 550 bedrooms. In 1929 the Michelin Guide to Great Britain awarded it five roofs, ranking it with the Savoy as a luxuriously appointed palace “where every comfort can be secured”.


Seven years later, hit by the Depression of the 1930s, it was taken over by the Ministry of Defence.

The Commissioners say that the Bath stone of the façades has been damaged by inappropriate repairs, which “has removed much of the stonework and detailing and resulted in a patchy appearance”.

Professor Robert Tavernor, of the London School of Economics, said: “The Metropole was not considered to be a good design when it was built, nor is it highly regarded by architectural historians, being judged throughout its life to be deficient in architectural character and quality.”

Professor David Walker, an authority on Victorian architects, said, however: “Demolition would be an outrage. The building is beautifully detailed. This kind of Beaux-Arts architecture is very undervalued. It is extraordinary that the building is not listed. It is part of a unified and harmonious street and it would be quite wrong to demolish any part of it.”

The Metropole was one of a series of imposing hotels in Northumberland Avenue — which runs between Trafalgar Square and the Embankment — designed by the brothers F and H Francis with J E Saunders. The Companion Guide to London compares Northumberland Avenue to the streets around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but Sir Nikolaus Pevsner’s classic guide to Westminster dismisses the façades of the Metropole as “an ill-assorted collection of motifs”. The main entrance is flanked by intricately carved reliefs of Neptune, Big Ben and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Metropole is one of the impressive stone buildings that make the Whitehall river front into a grand architectural composition.

Across the road is the National Liberal Club with a rocket-like corner tower designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the architect of the Natural History Museum. Further along Whitehall Court are the romantic towers and domes of the War Office.

The Crown Commissioners have submitted a planning application to Westminster Council for a replacement building designed by Eric Parry.

Philip Davies, planning and development director at English Heritage, said: “We have made it clear to the applicants that we feel very strongly this building is important and should not be demolished.”

A report from the conservation architects Donald Insall & Associates says: “The only way to secure the long-term future of the building would be to replace the façades in their entirety above ground-floor level.

“To do nothing is not an option. The risks of further erosion due to frost and debonding create a safety as well as an aesthetic issue.”


[IMG]http://i1.************/nodp1k.jpg[/IMG]
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Old February 13th, 2006, 09:31 PM   #2
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This is the exact location, near Trafalgar Square and the riverfront:

http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.sr...app=newmap.srf

Unbelievable...
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Old February 13th, 2006, 09:39 PM   #3
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The building shown in orange was built completely in the 1980s.

The purple highlight shows the top of the street that the building under threat occupies:


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Old February 14th, 2006, 03:56 AM   #4
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Oh my God, I hope they stop it before it is demolished. Many cities
would give their eye-teeth to have that building. I know I would.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 04:36 PM   #5
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That's horrible!!! I hope Londoners will be able to stop this.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 10:22 PM   #6
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I've sent a complaint to Westminster Council:


"... I would like to express my profound disappointment and outrage at plans to demolish the Hotel Metropole on Northumberland Avenue. This is a shocking decision. Old buildings like this, with their history and character, and their beautiful detailed facades, are an essential part of London and we should be doing everything we can to preserve them, not tear them down. This building can be restored, and saved. There are countless examples of other buildings in London where this has happened - the exterior facade is retained, with only the interior being modified. There is really no need for a demolition and some bland modern replacement. On behalf of myself and the hundreds of other people from my architecture forum, I urge you to reconsider these drastic and unnecessary plans."
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Old February 18th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
was not considered to be a good design when it was built, nor is it highly regarded by architectural historians
The oldest excuse ever!
My former hometown destroyed a wooden neo-gothic church in the 70's for the very same "reason"(among other buildings). But that was the 70's, doing something similar today is an outrage!
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Old February 18th, 2006, 04:36 PM   #8
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I don't know about UK laws, but City Council Urbanism Departament can't protect landmarks against this?
Here in Spain councils have the right to make a Catalogue of Landmark buildings that MUST be preserved and can't be modified or demolished in different ways (facade only, facade+inside, just a few elements like statues or paintings...)
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 03:52 PM   #9
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nowwwwwwww this is a crime you must doo something!!
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 05:53 PM   #10
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Professor Robert Tavernor, of the London School of Economics, said: “The Metropole was not considered to be a good design when it was built, nor is it highly regarded by architectural historians, being judged throughout its life to be deficient in architectural character and quality.”

The Eiffel Tower in Paris was also not considered to be a good design when it
was built. Maybe we should bulldoze it as well, and build a jolly nice condo
in its place.
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Old February 28th, 2006, 06:01 PM   #11
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Wow, I thought the days of demolishing old beautiful grand buildings was long gone! This is simply a travesty, and I strongly hope this does NOT happen! That building looks extremely beautiful and to demolish it would be shocking to say the least. I really don't understand why those in charge cannot see the aesthetic and historical value of having such wonderful structures in their cities. I hope something is done to prevent this! Perhaps if you email newspapers and other media outlets, you can place further media attention on such a travesty, and hopefully prevent this from occuring?
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Old March 1st, 2006, 01:01 PM   #12
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The building is unsafe?

Then, dismantle the facade, lobby and some grand features.

Rebuild the building and put the facade and details back on.
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 03:11 AM   #13
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Another historic building looks set to be demolished...

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=323831

What the hell is going on??
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 03:23 AM   #14
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What's the new one gonna look like!?
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 05:11 AM   #15
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What a shame!
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 11:27 AM   #16
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Sadly it's all for the sake of raking in money.

Singapore has lots of grand mansions demolished. Now ugly blocky mid-cost apartments stand in their place. Most were gone in the 1970s.

Hope someone would form a non profit organisation dedicated to promoting the knowledge of built heritage and architecture.
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 10:06 PM   #17
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Urban redevelopment has always been a major problem in the older cities with a lot of rich architectural heritage. Unfortunately many of these buildings might not have the facilities in place for upgrades to bring them on par with today's expectations (ie. fiber optic cables, etc.), which may support a redevelopment altogether. But a hotel doesn't require such state-of-the-art infrastructure, so what is the rationale to tear it down?
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Old March 4th, 2006, 10:54 PM   #18
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Wow, what a shame. Why isn't it listed?
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Old March 5th, 2006, 04:26 AM   #19
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Is it the one under the tarp?



Source : http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=100179
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Old March 5th, 2006, 01:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
Urban redevelopment has always been a major problem in the older cities with a lot of rich architectural heritage. Unfortunately many of these buildings might not have the facilities in place for upgrades to bring them on par with today's expectations (ie. fiber optic cables, etc.), which may support a redevelopment altogether. But a hotel doesn't require such state-of-the-art infrastructure, so what is the rationale to tear it down?
The most drastic measure would be at least preserving the exterior wall while demolishing and totally rebuilding the inside. This was what happened to the old General Post Office here when it was converted into Fullerton Hotel.

Worst case scenario... Dismantle facade, demolish building. Build new building and put back old facade.
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